Anna Gülcher

Earth and planetary scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology

I am a computational Earth and planetary scientist interested in planetary evolution and (in)habitability. My research focuses on – but is not restricted to – the interior and tectonic processes that shape rocky planets such as Venus and Earth. I am very enthusiastic about several space missions dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of our neighbouring planet Venus. Currently, I am a scientific collaborator to NASA’s VERITAS mission.

I am further passionate about project and team management, science communication, teaching, and diversity. I have a track record of organisational skills and professional outreach experience. I previously served several roles in the Geodynamics Division of the European Geosciences Union and am currently on NASA’s Venus Exploration and Analysis Group Steering Committee. I am committed to foster a more open, diverse, and inclusive community for scientists. 

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4900 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, US


California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., South Mudd Rm 266, Pasadena, CA 91125, US

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Research interests, past, current, or future projects, and collaborations


Publications, keynote talks, conference contributions, software, and more


Outreach articles/activities, science communication, and professional service roles


A collection of graphics, figures, and maps made to communicate my research


Women in science/STEM, communities, science visualisation, and software

Academic / research experience

Postdoctoral researcher | Planetary Scientist (01.2023 – present)

  • Postdoctoral researcher | Planetary scientist01.2023 - present

Principal Investigator on research project dedicated to unravelling the mysteries behind Venus’ tectonics and volcanism, awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. 

Postdoctoral researcher in Geophysics (11.2022 – 12.2022)

  • Postdoctoral researcher in Geophysics11.2022 - 12.2022

PhD researcher in Geophysics | Planetary Sciences (10.2018 – 10.2022)

  • PhD researcher in Geophysics | Planetary Sciences11.2018 - 10.2022

PhD dissertation: Computational modeling of Earth’s interior evolution through chemical and rheological heterogeneity in the lower mantle

MSc. in Geophysics  (09.2016 – 08.2018)

  • MSc. in Geophysics09.2016 - 08.2018

MSc thesis: 3D computational modeling of the tectonic and magmatic processes that shape the so-called ‘corona’ structures on the surface of Venus. 

  • BSc. in Earth Sciences09.2013 - 07.2016

BSc. in Earth Sciences  (09.2013 – 07.2016)

Dept. of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

BSc thesis: Paleomagnetic fieldwork and laboratory experiments on lava rocks from Pico Island, The Azores, to deduce Earth’s ancient geomagnetic field. 

My first day at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory!

Nice views on campus of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA. 

I spend my MSc and PhD (totaling six years) at ETH Zürich in scenic Switzerland.

Some of my fondest memories are from my BSc. time in picturesque Utrecht, the Netherlands


Awards and grants

  • CSH research fellowshipGrant

$300.000 Fellowship grant

Fellowship grant awarded by the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern, Switzerland in 2024 to be the Principal Investigator on a research project entitled “Venus as a natural laboratory for Earth-like (exo)planets” (Nov 2024-2026/27)

  • SNSF postdoctoral research fellowshipGrant

$140.000 Fellowship grant

Postdoc.Mobility grant awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) in 2022 to be the Principal Investigator on a two-year long research project (Jan 2023-2025) at the California Institute of Technology and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (USA).

  • Women-in-STEM group fundingGrant

$2000 Grant by ETH Zürich for ‘Fix the Leaky Pipeline’ peer-mentoring group

Grant awarded for the Planetary Equity group within ETH Zurich‘s career-building program for women in science (2021-2022). Theme: ‘Self-development as a pathway to an equal scientific career’. 

  • Outstanding Student Presentation AwardAward

European Geoscience Union award

Award from the Geodynamics Division from the European Geoscience Union for an outstanding performance as a young scientist during the EGU General Assembly 2019 in Vienna, Austria. 

  • ETH Zürich medal for best MSc research thesisAward

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology award

Awarded for the best M.Sc. thesis research of the whole Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in the graduation year 2018.

  • Excellence Master ScholarshipScholarship

$36.000 Scholarship by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Full scholarship for two-year MSc degree in Geophysics at ETH Zürich, Switzerland (2016-2018), based on previous academic excellency.

  • TU Delft research grantGrant

$10.000 Research grant by Foundation “Stichting Molengraaff Fonds” (TU Delft)

Research fund awarded for my BSc thesis research project and related paleomagnetic field work on the Azores, Portugal.

VERITAS space mission

I attended the 2024 VERITAS Science Team meeting in New Orleans


Documentary interview

On-camera interview for the History channel’s ‘The UnXplained: Mysteries of the Universe‘ documentary. 

Venus missions

The selection of three Venus missions by ESA and NASA in 2021 were a major influence on my career path